How to run a Rental? - Posted by Rental Man

Posted by Nate(DC) on September 12, 2003 at 24:28:25:

For the most part, yes. I can do small random repairs to things, painting, have refinished some wood floors, drywall, etc. But I definitely don’t have any real skills in specialized trades (e.g. A/C, plumbing, etc. - that’s why I picked A/C as the example) and really I don’t like to get my hands dirty if I can help it. I am better at diagnosing problems, and figuring out solutions, than actually implementing them myself.

For example, last month, a tenant called me because of a water problem in the basement. I showed up and it took me 2 minutes to identify that the problem was that the condensate pump on the air conditioner was shot (it helped that I had just experienced the exact same problem 1 week earlier at my mother in law’s house, where we ended up calling a repairman who showed me how the thing works while he was fixing it). I could have gone to Home Depot, bought the thing for $69, and wasted a couple hours teaching myself to install it right. Instead I called my friend the A/C contractor who came the next day and did it for $130, and I got to go home. To me it was $60 well spent.


How to run a Rental? - Posted by Rental Man

Posted by Rental Man on September 11, 2003 at 10:25:08:

Hello All,

I have two quick questions.

Can anyone tell me their strategy on how to run a rental property with a little less interaction than normal.

-For instance collecting rent payments without knocking on the tenants door on the 1st of every month?

-How about, say, I (person running the rental biz) am away, i.e. out of town, hospital, vacation, etc, how would I tend to the property if something were to happen. Say a tenant calls because of a leak or a/c is busted and I am 1000 miles away?

Thanks in advance.

Re: How to run a Rental? - Posted by Ron M

Posted by Ron M on September 11, 2003 at 21:34:52:

A property management firm may be the best option for you. I have a friend who is a real estate broker and his primary business is managing single family homes and small apartments. Typically this runs from 6% to 10% of the gross rents, but because they manage so many properties they get excellent deals from contractors when it comes to repairs. They also keep the rents current and fill the units if they go vacant. What part of Washington are you in?

Ron M (Spokane)

Collecting rent in abstentia… - Posted by Christopher - WA

Posted by Christopher - WA on September 11, 2003 at 12:49:23:

My tenants deposit their rent check directly into the bank account set up for it. Yes, they have the account number but they don’t have access to the account. Besides, There’s never more than one month’s rent in it. I provide them with an endorsement stamp and pre-printed deposit slips.

This has the advantage for them that they can wait until the very last minute to pay the rent if necessary and the advantage for me that I don’t end up carrying the rent check around with me for a week or more before remembering to stop at the bank. I can check online to see if they paid on time.

Re: How to run a Rental? - Posted by Nate(DC)

Posted by Nate(DC) on September 11, 2003 at 12:03:05:

IMO, that’s what you have contractors for. If something breaks, you call them, and they fix it. I don’t fix the A/C in my own house so why would I fix it in my rental properties.

As for rent, it is mailed to me on the first of the month.


Re: How to run a Rental? - Posted by Rental Man

Posted by Rental Man on September 11, 2003 at 22:21:48:

I’m in DC. That Washington.

Question for you - Posted by randyOH

Posted by randyOH on September 11, 2003 at 13:43:33:

I do the same thing and it has been working great. I do have one concern that I have not been able to figure out.

If a tenant does not pay and you start the eviction process, there could be a problem. Say you file the papers with the court and incur the fees and maybe even pay a lawyer. Then, before the hearing date, the tenant puts the money into your account. Now you cannot evict them. What do you do?

See the problem? If they were paying you by check, you could just refuse the payment and proceed with the eviction.

I have not had this happen yet. Just trying to figure out how to handle it if it does happen.

Any thoughts? Anyone?


Re: How to run a Rental? - Posted by Brent_IL

Posted by Brent_IL on September 11, 2003 at 22:38:24:

Hi Nate,

I always thought of you as having a storehouse of fix-it type knowledge. Do you act as General Contractor on your jobs and not bother with the actual work?


Re: How to run a Rental? - Posted by Ron M

Posted by Ron M on September 12, 2003 at 09:45:33:

Ohhhhh, the other Washington. lol

Ron M (WA State)

Re: Question for you - Posted by Tim (CT)

Posted by Tim (CT) on September 11, 2003 at 15:17:11:

In CT, I can accept money from a tenant anytime after the date on the notice to quit. This money goes right into my pocket and it DOES NOT mean that the eviction process stops. That’s up to me. If I accept money before the date on the notice to quit, then, I’ve received partial payment and cannot continue the eviction process.

Good luck

Re: Question for you - Posted by Wayne-NC

Posted by Wayne-NC on September 11, 2003 at 14:14:25:

I do that as well. Now that you mention it I would probably close the account until things change or open a new one that only the good payers know. Check with the bank and see if they have any suggestions. Hopefully that doesn’t happen often.